17 July 2016 – In his intervention at the ASEM Retreat in Ulaanbaatar on July 16 where leaders were gathered in a closed-door meeting, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay Jr. reiterated the abiding commitment of the Philippines to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes to promote and enhance peace and stability in the region.
He said the Philippines would continue to engage concerned parties to reduce regional tensions and to build greater trust and confidence, and “the recent arbitration ruling will help in finding ways forward on disputes in the South China Sea”. Furthermore, he stressed that measures which restore trust and confidence in the region including the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the SCS are very important for the Philippines.
He exhorted countries to exercise sobriety and restraint, and concluded “We need to respect the international system and the bodies of law we ourselves created.” The Philippines, he recalled, had always put its faith in international cooperation and international law to protect its rights and interests.
Referring to engagement with countries, Secretary Yasay said that for dialogue to succeed, countries should exercise open-mindedness, fairness and mutual respect.
Secretary Yasay also proposed to make the fight against drug trafficking a new area of cooperation in ASEM, especially among other interested and like-minded ASEM countries. END